Apple Cider Sangria

by on Oct.03, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Sangria is a Spanish cocktail made with red wine, fruit and some type of cordial. It’s usually associated with summer, but Sangria translates as “bloody” making it perfect for Halloween! This is a variation on that classic drink that can be made well ahead of time in large batches – ideal cocktail for Halloween get-togethers!


Apple Cider Sangria

2 apples (Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Envy or Jazz)
1 orange
1 lemon
2 cups fresh-pressed Barsotti apple cider
1/2 cup Jack Daniels Apple Whisky
1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc white wine
1/3 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 (12.7 oz) bottle Bundaberg ginger beer

1. Wash fruit well and core apples. Dice apples into small pieces and place in a large pitcher. Cut orange and lemon into thin slices removing seeds. Add to pitcher.

2. Add apple cider, apple whisky, wine, sugar into pitcher. Stir well crushing fruit with spoon. Add cinnamon sticks, stir again, cover and set in refrigerator overnight.

3. Add in ginger beer right before serving, stir well and serve immediately!

Tips: Use the best fresh apple cider you can find, usually in the refrigerated juice sections, and look for the unfiltered kind that looks cloudy and brownish. Remember apple cider is different from apple juice, and definitely not apple cider vinegar. Same with ginger beer. It’s not the same as ginger ale! The type of white wine is also important as you don’t want an oaky Chardonnay for example (an unoaked Chardonnay would be okay). Albarinos or Pinot Grigio would also be perfect. But sangria is usually very forgiving.

I would recommend a punch bowl (cauldron?) and ladle for serving since fresh apple juice tends to separate when it sits and you need to stir before serving. And, of course, you want to get some of the spirited fruit as well.

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Winchester Mystery House Goes Fully Unhinged

by on Oct.01, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Times have changed. When I moved to San Jose in 2005, I lived down the street from the Winchester Mystery House. I was instantly captivated by its Victorian charm and the rumored haunting. For many of those early docent-led tours nothing about the ghostly matters was ever acknowledged, even when asked directly. Then 14 years later, ghost busting shows are a staple on pay cable TV, and run-down mansions and hospitals with heinous histories everywhere are selling tickets for tours. The Winchester House finally got on board with several variations of candlelit tours, then a fantastic haunted maze created around the perimeter on the house!

That has all changed with their latest and greatest attraction, Winchester Mystery House Unhinged! Created by ThemeDream Productions, these wicked masterminds have created a haunted maze using the interior house’s existing maze-like structure, added a few spooks, performance pieces, and some great special effects. The haunted docents tell us that this tour does not go through the beautifully appointed rooms of the regular tours. Instead we go through the basement, long unused corridors, and several dilapidated rooms that no one would pay to see in daylight. It’s an absolutely brilliant concept!
In addition to the immersive and hour long maze, there are fortune tellers, ax-throwing games, a gingerbread replica of the house created by Christine McConnell, and a stunning light show created by PaintScaping that is comprised of 3D projections onto the house itself that showcase the spirits within and a fiery conclusion that knocks the house down. It’s absolutely breathtaking and worth the reasonable price of admission. This is one classy haunt that should not be missed!

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Winchester Mystery House Goes Fully Unhinged

by on Oct.01, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Times have changed. When I moved to San Jose in 2005, I lived down the street from the Winchester Mystery House. I was instantly captivated by its Victorian charm and the rumored haunting. For many of those early docent-led tours nothing about the ghostly matters was ever acknowledged, even when asked directly. Then 14 years later, ghost busting shows are a staple on pay cable TV, and run-down mansions and hospitals with heinous histories everywhere are selling tickets for tours. The Winchester House finally got on board with several variations of candlelit tours, then a fantastic haunted maze created around the perimeter on the house!

That has all changed with their latest and greatest attraction, Winchester Mystery House Unhinged! Created by ThemeDream Productions, these wicked masterminds have created a haunted maze using the interior house’s existing maze-like structure, added a few spooks, performance pieces, and some great special effects. The haunted docents tell us that this tour does not go through the beautifully appointed rooms of the regular tours. Instead we go through the basement, long unused corridors, and several dilapidated rooms that no one would pay to see in daylight. It’s an absolutely brilliant concept!
In addition to the immersive and hour long maze, there are fortune tellers, ax-throwing games, a gingerbread replica of the house created by Christine McConnell, and a stunning light show created by PaintScaping that is comprised of 3D projections onto the house itself that showcase the spirits within and a fiery conclusion that knocks the house down. It’s absolutely breathtaking and worth the reasonable price of admission. This is one classy haunt that should not be missed!

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Quick Takes: Tigers Are Not Afraid, High Life, Head Count

by on Sep.16, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post



Tigers Are Not Afraid is devastating. The horror across the border in Mexico is very real and this fantasia captures the spirit of children left to defend themselves against monsters in all forms. Director Issa Lopez has a remarkable vision, imagination, and restraint that narrows the focus to a pinpoint of pain and sorrow, and her incredible young actors fulfill the mission. This a masterpiece. Currently on Shudder.

High Life is a quietly bleak, psychosexual, sci-fi anomaly that tackles themes of isolation, redemption and the inevitable surrender to the horror of deep space. It will be challenging for some audiences with its strangely assertive sexual overtones and undefined ending but it stands alongside some of Stanley Kubrick’s best work. Robert Pattinson’s stellar performance embodies the weary lost soul and the results are a transcendental meditation on hope.

Head Count is deviously clever & creepy, making you second guess what you’ve seen. The set-up might seem trite, but it follows in the new wave of #horror that pushes genre expectations. The ride is relentless & dreadful, the payoff is satisfying, but the coda was unnecessary. Currently on Netflix.

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Quick Takes: Tigers Are Not Afraid, High Life, Head Count

by on Sep.16, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post



Tigers Are Not Afraid is devastating. The horror across the border in Mexico is very real and this fantasia captures the spirit of children left to defend themselves against monsters in all forms. Director Issa Lopez has a remarkable vision, imagination, and restraint that narrows the focus to a pinpoint of pain and sorrow, and her incredible young actors fulfill the mission. This a masterpiece. Currently on Shudder.

High Life is a quietly bleak, psychosexual, sci-fi anomaly that tackles themes of isolation, redemption and the inevitable surrender to the horror of deep space. It will be challenging for some audiences with its strangely assertive sexual overtones and undefined ending but it stands alongside some of Stanley Kubrick’s best work. Robert Pattinson’s stellar performance embodies the weary lost soul and the results are a transcendental meditation on hope.

Head Count is deviously clever & creepy, making you second guess what you’ve seen. The set-up might seem trite, but it follows in the new wave of #horror that pushes genre expectations. The ride is relentless & dreadful, the payoff is satisfying, but the coda was unnecessary. Currently on Netflix.

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Ghoulish Garden Blooms at Target

by on Sep.13, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Target stores are dropping their Halloween goods this week, and by far my favorite items are the Ghoulish Garden monster plants. They are all teeth, tongues, and eyeballs and so darn eerie and delightful. They remind me somewhat of the singing flowers in the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland, or Audrey II from The Little Shop of Horrors. Sadly, they are all out stock around my stores and online so not sure if I’ll get one this season but my stems are crossed and rooting for good luck.

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Ghoulish Garden Blooms at Target

by on Sep.13, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Target stores are dropping their Halloween goods this week, and by far my favorite items are the Ghoulish Garden monster plants. They are all teeth, tongues, and eyeballs and so darn eerie and delightful. They remind me somewhat of the singing flowers in the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland, or Audrey II from The Little Shop of Horrors. Sadly, they are all out stock around my stores and online so not sure if I’ll get one this season but my stems are crossed and rooting for good luck.

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IT Chapter Two Is A Completely Different Monster

by on Sep.10, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

IT Chapter Two leaves the optimism & scary wonder of youth behind to focus on downbeat adult trauma. This tonal shift is necessary for the story of the adult Losers Club to fully come full circle but like the book, it becomes less enjoyable, more tedious. It meanders more often than it amuses and takes full advantage of its long running time to flesh out lots of details. So we’re left with a brilliant cast who are suddenly but sporadically thrust into fantastical set pieces. There’s truly no lack of horror, and when it happens it’s bizarre & unsettling movie magic!

Yet all this drama also strangely also upstages Pennywise – and Bill Skarsgard – who seems to have a really small role. When the clown does show up, it’s in the form of some larger than life but clearly CGI creature. Enhanced practical effects would have helped sell some of these moments. Greater emphasis still is given to the monster’s Deadlights, three glowing orbs that are possibly its truest form, that don’t have much character at all. But I did appreciated that they dove into the mythos, origins of IT, and the Ritual of Chud.

Perhaps the episodic nature would lend itself better to another medium, but nothing here feels unnecessary. It folds in some needed scenes of their  younger counterparts to ensure the current narrative gels. This is a clunky, repetitive structure with some laggy pacing, and then we get to the end. Stephen King is notorious for failing to end his massive works with satisfying endings, and here again, the ending feels somewhat anti-climatic. I admit it wasn’t as bad a the tv mini-series and a vast improvement on the book. Perhaps expectations got in the way, considering the great choices director Andy Muschietti and writer Gary Dauberman have made in adapting this massive book and changing the story to fit the films.

IT Chapter Two is an engrossing, good film that is very, very long. I still preferred Chapter One since it’s dripping with nostalgia, but this one stays true to its central thesis. Fearing IT gives IT power and likewise believing you can destroy IT has the same effect. This is how the kids defeated Pennywise in Chapter One. But Pennywise is 27 years older, wiser, and has a grudge to settle. He knows adults struggle with believing in anything and thus are easy targets. It’s a good lesson to remember that the imagination of your childhood could possibly save you as an adult.

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Charred Tree Lamp

by on Sep.09, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Since as long as I can remember, or at least since watching Poltergeist, I’ve been infatuated with spooky trees. If I’m driving somewhere and see the perfectly haunted tree, I must stop and take a picture. It’s as annoying as it sounds.

Last year, there was a devastating and deadly wildfire that wiped Paradise, CA off the map (where my parents-in-law used to live–they have since relocated). Houses completely disappeared leaving behind only foundation slabs, yet strangely, charred remains of blackened trees remained standing. the visuals were all so eerie and sad. This stuck in my mind for a long time, and I’d been looking for a project to expunge it and create something good from it. So I made a lamp as a kind of remembrance piece.

1.  I first traced an existing lamp onto paper and then sketched what I would build over the existing structure. I wasn’t sure how intricate I could get with my chosen materials. My friend Britta reminded me that I should use a lamp in working order. Check. And, after watching a video by Christine McConnell, I felt encouraged to confidently use a Dremel tool to reshape the metal structure of the original lamp.

2. Using balled up paper and tape, I started building a structure of the branches. Some of the branches required more structure so I added 16 gauge wire armature to ensure the branches remained upright. 

3. I kept adding branches, refining detail and thickening the base. This was an iterative process of adding and removing. 

4. I wanted a rough, bumpy texture so I made “Monster Mud” – a mix of Celluclay, water, Elmer’s white glue, and joint compound – to create modeling clay. I sculpted over my existing structure in stages, letting inner layers dry before adding more clay. After several coats and sculptural detail, I let it dry thoroughly for week in the sun. I sanded it lightly to allow any loose bits to come off. 

5. Finally, I added a base coat of Krylon spray paint + primer, and added some highlights/lowlights with contrasting grey colors (which are impossible to capture in a pic). This burlap sack lamp shade seems to go well with the theme. 

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Charred Tree Lamp

by on Sep.09, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Since as long as I can remember, or at least since watching Poltergeist, I’ve been infatuated with spooky trees. If I’m driving somewhere and see the perfectly haunted tree, I must stop and take a picture. It’s as annoying as it sounds.

Last year, there was a devastating and deadly wildfire that wiped Paradise, CA off the map (where my parents-in-law used to live–they have since relocated). Houses completely disappeared leaving behind only foundation slabs, yet strangely, charred remains of blackened trees remained standing. the visuals were all so eerie and sad. This stuck in my mind for a long time, and I’d been looking for a project to expunge it and create something good from it. So I made a lamp as a kind of remembrance piece.

1.  I first traced an existing lamp onto paper and then sketched what I would build over the existing structure. I wasn’t sure how intricate I could get with my chosen materials. My friend Britta reminded me that I should use a lamp in working order. Check. And, after watching a video by Christine McConnell, I felt encouraged to confidently use a Dremel tool to reshape the metal structure of the original lamp.

2. Using balled up paper and tape, I started building a structure of the branches. Some of the branches required more structure so I added 16 gauge wire armature to ensure the branches remained upright. 

3. I kept adding branches, refining detail and thickening the base. This was an iterative process of adding and removing. 

4. I wanted a rough, bumpy texture so I made “Monster Mud” – a mix of Celluclay, water, Elmer’s white glue, and joint compound – to create modeling clay. I sculpted over my existing structure in stages, letting inner layers dry before adding more clay. After several coats and sculptural detail, I let it dry thoroughly for week in the sun. I sanded it lightly to allow any loose bits to come off. 

5. Finally, I added a base coat of Krylon spray paint + primer, and added some highlights/lowlights with contrasting grey colors (which are impossible to capture in a pic). This burlap sack lamp shade seems to go well with the theme. 

Leave a Comment more...

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